Julio Rodriguez, a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Architecture, recently won the Student Citation at the 2015 Design Awards for his design, “21st Century High School.”
The annual awards are administered by the American Institute of Architects Pasadena and Foothill Chapter (AIAPF) to “celebrate design excellence and innovation as well as provide an arena where architects are recognized for their effort and dedication to the profession.”
The “21st Century High School” is a futuristic 237,580-square-foot structure designed with a vertical section organization to accommodate the dense population and space constraints of downtown Los Angeles. Moving away from the more traditional horizontal school designs, which often cover vast areas of land, Rodriguez created an innovative learning space specifically suited to make the most efficient use of available space in an urban environment. He also designed the school to be multi-purpose, serving as a daycare, night school and community meeting space.
“The concept for my submission is an evolution of multiple ideas: studying traditional plans for high schools and researching the modern teaching theory. The structure design is also influenced and shaped by the natural evolution of an ever-changing city, community and way of teaching,” says Rodriguez.
Because the AIAPF submission did not require a specific type of structure or category, Rodriguez’s entry was actually his senior project final. The jurors, who include international designers and Disney Imagineers, commended the project for its “clarity of idea and beauty.”
“It is one thing to give a presentation to the professor and be there to explain it, but another to let the project speak for itself. When I found out that my project had received an award, I was really surprised and speechless,” Rodriguez says.
The next step for Rodriguez, who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona this past spring, is to obtain his architecture license. In the next ten years he hopes to design a custom home for himself and to develop a significant large-scale project, like his “21st Century High School,” that will enrich the community and the city environment.